June 30, 2012

E-Tales: Guam Diary Part II

Sat., Dec 24: Roused from sleep at 0530. Bundled into car with groggy sister, chirping parents. Rented Honda gets nothing but verbal abuse from Daddy. Sign: Dededo Flea Market. Suspect spelling error. Cars and pickup trucks parked pell-mell. Makeshift chicken hutches, tantilizing smell of BBQ (at 0630?), and inescapable Eric Clapton, Extreme and Journey mix on loudspeaker system. Dad crows about bargains to be had; his code for cheap Dr. Seuss books. Mongrel dogs meander, somehow seem friendlier to me than coiffed canines back home. Marina freaks out when viewing creepy array of Barbie Dolls with no clothes—how childish. Mom and Dad try to blend in but it is blatantly obvious, even to me, that we are not locals. We all have a tremendous amount of fun and enjoy this place very much. We are flea market folk anywhere. 
Late breakfast at Denny’s different from hotel. Parents hoover coffee and toast. Dad reads paper. I prefer the main course of whipped butter with some pancakes on the side. M follows suit. She is under my spell at last! Waitress derogatory about rival server in other section. Wazzat all about? We board rent-a-car again—no booster seat debut. Remainder of morning spent touring Guam in car. Brown jungle leaves lie on rural highways. Palm tree fronds droop over lonely side roads as whelping, tethered dogs lunge at our car when we drive by. Absolutely stunning ocean views and lush green hills capture the eye. Bus stops look like huge mushrooms. Daddy goofy, enthuses about “authenticity.” Sign: Marianas Military Museum at US Naval Station Agat. Daddy looks at Mommy. She shakes head decisively. Oh thank you for that, God.
Hungry now. Arggh. Just gimme some Cheetos or I will start screaming, man. I am bought off with vague promise of “almost there” and Chuck E. Cheese…”soon.” What is this enchanted eatery?
Arrive. Go through doors framed by vivid colors and huge animated characters that I have never seen before. Booping games and other manic kids surround me. Feeling generous—tow sister around. Parents let me wander unsupervised. This place is my Shangri-La. Never. Want. To. Leave. Rubber pizza and nuggets go uneaten—too busy, man.
Returning to tourist strip and hotel; stop at Piti bomb craters. Mom grumbles about entrance fee as we descend below waterline. Sibling loses mind at sight of fish outside, performs toddler version of The Twist. Caused by our mood or this place?
Dinner followed by car night cruise about 1930. Windows down. Muggy air. Slowly tour the illumination strip in Agana Heights…see delightful red, white, blue and green Christmas lights hung on giant jungle flora and fauna…this is some wacky shit, but so….zzzzzzzzzz.

Sun., Dec 25:  Minor elation of hearing “Merry Christmas” from Mommy seared by realization all presents are back in Japan, teasing. Just a few surrogate gifts now. I accept the loss; Marina oblivious. Daddy insists on dumb photos of us parked in front of a tropical Christmas tree. I submit just to get my Frosted Flakes and guava tang. Hotel staff slightly grumpier today. I dig that. We go swimming in the morning. Clear, salty water and real fish swim around my feet. THIS IS AWESOME! Dopamine surge. But somehow can’t put my head underwater. Eventually we all wade in surf together. Feel like a character in John Updike short story. Utterly conventional, superior fun.

Afternoon: we go to the Underwater World Aquarium. Walked by huge duty free shopping emporiums. Mommy recounts her vomiting outside one during a prior visit years ago. Whaaa? Mommy did stuff before I got here? Pass another ABC store (ubiquitous) with canned James Brown. Think: the Godfather of Soul is like chocolate ice cream—never fails to bring out the funk. I do feel good. More walking and Chinese food for dinner.
To cap off the day: Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. Ain’t nothing wrong with that. Ask for more SpongeBob Squarepants. Denied? It’s only 2200! There are no words. Only tears.

Mon., Dec 26: Daddy looked pale this morning. Croaks out “watermelon vodkas.” Hmm. Maybe leave him alone best option. Last breakfast in hotel. Nice lady puts everything I ask for in an omelet. I decide not to eat it. Many other guests coo at Marina in her high chair. That little bitch. “They” are right: there is always someone out there younger and cuter. Swimming one last time. Used to salty water and warmth. Decide it’s OK to live here. Mommy and Daddy seem bummed today. Not my fault. They need to work on time management skills. Tension-filled suitcase packing as I ponder The Simpsons. Mommy switches to The Weather Channel. Why did Mommy not respond when I bellow at her to change the channel back right now? Out of hotel by lunchtime. Who is this man Tony Roma and why do my parents want to go there so badly? I’m not hungry. I ask for ice cream: “OK.” I love Daddy. Later, I ask for one more ice cream: “No.” Scratch that. I hate Daddy.
Afternoon: Last views of this warm, fragrant place framed by taxi windows. Airplane ride cool. Sister sleeps—spiritual cavalry. I get plenty o’ juice and coloring books to work. Then back on solid ground. Dark out. Cold in Yokohama but somehow futon feels better than plush bourgeois bed. No need for midnight pee; all is well.


June 26, 2012

Getting Tattoos=Rad Kid Cool

Lady E. came up to me last week, says: “I’m ready to accept greater responsibility for my own life decisions. I’m five now. I want a SpongeBob tattoo to commemorate this great virtual mentor of mine for the rest of my life.”

I thought: Her sound logic shows developmental progress; feelings of veneration for SpongeBob indicate emotional maturity; and she acknowledges the permanence. And it’s just a boss idea.

I reply: “OK, Elena—sold. But one condition. I want a piece of that coolness, so we ALL have to get tattoos.”

The bargain struck, we had a Rising Family Assembly® to decide what the most awesome tats were that we could get. Elena wanted to keep the SpongeBob motif, but Marina doesn’t quite grasp the whole underwater/Bikini Bottom thing yet. I wanted the famous “screaming chicken” (seen best on the Bandit 1977 Pontiac Trans Am) for all of us, but the girls nixed that idea.

The only thing more badass would be pirate ink, Naomi said. Lady E. was all over that—elementary school buccaneer chic ahoy! So cool! And thus the Brigand Rising Family was born.

Check it out. Someday, when Marina is 50 years old in...well...48 years from now, she will think back to how lucky she was to have such a progressive family. Lady E's tribal thorns are very proto Red Hot Chili Peppers.

You know what they say: the family that gets tattoos together, stays together.


My satire aside, we don't want to go to jail for child neglect and so I must write in small print these were just temporary water tats. Duh! And we do like tattoos, just not on our kids. The adults in the family have two small ones, so I am not trying to offend any inked folks out there.